Bradford Council's Conservative group 'would freeze tax til 2017'

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Conservative group deputy leader Coun Simon Cooke Conservative group deputy leader Coun Simon Cooke

The Conservative opposition group at Bradford Council had proposed a freeze in Council Tax until 2017 in its budget proposals – which was voted out by councillors last night.

The alternative budget would also have seen all-ward coverage for youth services and wardens maintained, as well as public health funding being used to instead support youth intervention work.

One way the Tories had proposed to balance the budget and still freeze Council Tax was by reducing what it described as “bureaucracy” – which would include merging the Council’s Education Building Team and Estates Programme Team, saving £600,000.

It also suggested abolishing the Deputy Director’s Office at a saving of £277,000 over the next two years.

It also recommended stopping the payment of full time union officials and withdrawing free accommodation for union members in Council buildings.

The Ministry of Food in Bradford city centre would also have been closed under the Tory budget, saving £261,000 over two years.

The group would have redirected £350,000 a year from Council public health programmes like smoking cessation, obesity and sexual health programmes to youth service well-being programmes.

The group had also called for £500,000 to be set aside to create a new team to focus on failing schools, and £2 million to be pulled from reserves to pay for urgent road repairs across the district.

A further £1m of reserves would have been put towards investigating possible cost-cutting measures, like sharing council services with non-council bodies, reviewing the senior management structure and reviewing Council spending on charities.

The group calculated that these changes could have saved £5m by next year’s budget.

The Council’s Liberal Democrats group did not produce an alternative budget.

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